Sunday, January 16, 2011

Sea Lion Caves..

I hadn’t been to the Sea Lion Caves for years. I think the last time that I was there was when I was about 6 it was the summer between my kindergarden year and first grade.
We drove down Highway 101 down to California. It was so fun. I remember the smell of that cave. So when the “Hub’s” & I had the chance to visit and check out the Sea Lion Caves we were both pretty excited. 
The Sea Lion Caves is nature's home for wild sea lions and a variety of sea birds. Sea Lion Caves is located North of Florence on the Oregon Coast. The large cavern with the roar of the sea lions, the cries of the wailing birds, and the restless surge of the ocean into the cave below, is truly a treat from all ages.  Going down below the earth in the elevator my heart sunk down my chest as we dropped and dropped down. When we got to our final level we were able to go and take a great look at the caves that the hundreds of Sealions. that live there.

Inside of the cave it is wet, dark, and cold. The smell wasn't as bad as I would have thought or that I remember from when I was little. From the elevator to the opening of where you can view the sea lions you is about 40 steps down, and 40 steps back up. We also enjoyed the fact that we were able to walk a slightly steep walk up a wet, slippery stair way to the original stairs into the cave. I couldn't even try to imagine myself going up and down that way you use to. I would have been sick and my fear of hights would have never been allowed me to go that way to get down there. The idea of the elevator was almost to much for me this modern day way. 
Generally in the spring and summer the Sea Lions are on the rocky ledges just outside the cave. This is their rookery where breeding, birthing, and congregating goes on. During the fall and winter they are usually inside their cave. When we were there they were all out in the water from the top of the viewing area you could see them. We also saw whales dancing around in the waves there as well.

Sea Lions breed and bear young in the spring, usually in May and June, although some breeding occurs as late as July or even August. The coincidence of breeding and bearing was once thought possible because female Sea Lions have a twin uterus, a characteristic of all pinnipeds. Also, it was assumed that the Stellar Sea Lion bore a pup each year like it's close relative the Alaska Fur Seal.

During the breeding season, the bulls fight for territories on the rocky ledges just outside the cave. Only the largest and strongest bulls maintain harems of fifteen to thirty cows. The remainder are called bachelor bulls and are driven away to live elsewhere during this period. From April until about mid-July, the family structure is plainly evident with the young born on the rocky ledges outside the cave. It is very rare for a cow to give birth inside the grotto.

 Until late in July when the harem structure dissolves, the herd bulls keep constant vigil over their females. Occasionally a young, strong bachelor succeeds in besting an older bull thereby acquiring the herd. The herd bulls do not leave their harems even for food for perhaps three months. Only the largest ocean waves can drive them from the ledge into the sea. Females display no loyalty and when a harem is broken by a storm, the bull may never recover all of his chosen mates. Therefore, much of his work involves keeping his "wives" from slipping away in search of food or because of high waves and rough ocean. Naturally, the bulls have lost weight and are exhausted by the end of the breeding season and they generally spend the remainder of the summer by themselves, resting and regaining their strength.
The entire experience of the caves was wonderful except that you have to pay an arm and leg to go down to the caves. I wish that they would have told us there were no sea lions in the cave. I am happy that we went down but know that if I didn’t go down I would have completely kicked myself for not going. 
What is the one thing that you keep or collect on trips? For me I collect spoons and art that is done by any local. I keep the cost down by taking pictures. This is a great way to collect memories and then upload all of 
them for a coffee table photo booth. 

I loved this adventure. It was a fun time and another memory I get to share with the "hubs" I'm beyond blessed to be a travel writer and get to see so many fun things and go back to things and places that I once enjoyed as a child.